Rand man arrested in fatal shooting
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A 29-year-old man shot his friend at least 25 times with an AK-47 rifle and a pistol early Thursday in Rand, police said.
Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford said Tremale<co > Leon Straughter of Rand was charged with first-degree homicide in the shooting of Harold Donovan "Don Don" Taylor Jr., 29.
Rutherford said deputies received reports of a disturbance and loud music in the 5300 block of Emory Avenue at about 4:45 a.m. While on they way, deputies were told of shots fired in the area. Deputies arrived and found Taylor dead in his car, crashed into a fence nearby.
Multiple witnesses told police they watched Straughter shoot Taylor multiple times with different types of guns following an argument, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
Straughter then allegedly got into his car, circled the block and came back to shoot more rounds at Taylor, who was apparently dead inside his own car.
Deputies later saw Straughter's car being driven by his sister, Jimeka Straughter, along U.S. 60.
The car has several bullet holes and deputies saw broken glass on the passenger's side, according to the complaint.
Jimeka Straughter told deputies she got a text message from her mother stating that "Don Don was dead and it was Tremale," according to the complaint.
She called her brother who asked that she meet him in an alleyway near Emory Avenue, deputies said.
There they got into Straughter's car and drove to Glenville Avenue in Rand, where Tremale Straughter got out and ordered his sister to drive his car "out of Rand." He allegedly told her he had nothing to do with Taylor's death.
Sheriff's Detective S.D. Ferrell said he asked Jimeka if she had seen any gun inside and she said "if she had seen one, she would [throw] it into the river," according to the complaint.
Detectives found at least 25 bullet holes in Taylor's car and found multiple shell casings along Emory Avenue. There were at least two different types of casing, large and small, according to the complaint.
Neighbors said Straughter and Taylor grew up together in Rand and had been lifelong friends. Witnesses told police the two were heavily involved in drug dealing.
In 2001, Charleston police charged Taylor, Straughter's older brother and Straughter's cousin with first-degree murder for allegedly robbing and gunning down Gary "Gino" McGee, 21.
Tremain Straughter, Straughter's brother, and their cousin, Antwuan<co > LeVar Crowder, were later acquitted in separate trials.
Though Straughter and Crowder both implicated each other in the case, Straughter testified during his own trial that Taylor pulled the trigger for the third bullet that struck McGee.
Taylor, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery. Taylor earned parole because of time served and spent about a year behind bars.
In 2006, police arrested Taylor for allegedly shooting a man and critically injuring him following an argument at a Charleston bar. It's unclear if he served time in connection.
The Straughter brothers had numerous brushes with the law. They both served four years together in federal prison in connection to crack cocaine charges.
Reach Travis Crum at email@example.com or 304-348-5163.